INSIDE: The Ultimate Guide to Tamaki Maori Village Cultural Experience in Rotorua.
The aroma of the Tamaki Maori Village hangi stayed in my clothes for days.
Months later, the fragrance of meat and vegetables cooked underground in a hot fire pit teases my nostrils from time to time, a flashback out of nowhere. It’s so real, my mouth waters!
This Maori hangi dinner in Rotorua can’t be beaten. The roast meat is succulent, the vegetables perfectly roasted, the stuffing tasty, there’s mussels and white fish too. Not to forget, there’s Pavlova AND traditional New Zealand Steamed Pudding & Custard for dessert.
Go for the food, but enjoy traditional Maori culture, dance, arts and crafts, and singing along the way.
- 1 Tonnes of Fun at Tamaki Maori Village Rotorua
- 2 The Village Greeting Experience
- 3 The Tamaki Village Experience
- 4 The Wharenui Big House
- 5 More Photos of Tamaki Maori Village Activities
- 6 More Photos of the Maori Cultural Show
- 7 Photos of the Maori Hangi Dinner at Tamaki
- 8 Mitai Vs Tamaki
- 9 Te Puia Te Po Indigenous Evening Tour in Rotorua
- 10 Whakarewarewa Maori Village
- 11 The Inside Scoop- Tamaki Village Rotorua
- 12 Rotorua Night Activities – Map of Tamaki Village
- 13 Toadstool Rating- Tamaki Village Reviews
- 14 Looking for MORE SUPER DOOPER FUN things to do in Rotorua New Zealand with Kids?
Tonnes of Fun at Tamaki Maori Village Rotorua
This Maori experience in Rotorua begins the moment you get on the bus from the Tamaki Village office in town.
One visitor, a man – on our bus, a 40-something English father of two – is chosen to represent the bus passengers as our Maori chief. (The choice of man over woman is nothing personal but an authentic reference to how Maori culture works.)
When the buses arrive at the “Marae” village, and the hoards have been sorted into rows, there’s a traditional Maori greeting.
The Village Greeting Experience
The first glimpse into the experience of Tamaki is of a long boat filled with 1… 2… 3… then plenty more Maori warriors. (So many warriors!)
Everyone is pre-warned that it’s vital to remain straight faced during this greeting.
It’s tough, for kids especially, as it’s difficult not to laugh at strange and awkward nose rubbings, warrior ‘dance’ moves, leaf dropping escapades, and left-to-right leg hopping. (5-year-old Jack found this rule of keeping his face poker straight during the ceremony to be very confronting. He held his cheeks and lips in place with his hands, so as not to risk the wrath of the warriors!)
The chiefs from each bus play a part in this Powhiri formal welcome ceremony, accepting the peace offering, before everyone is invited into the village to begin the night of Maori culture, Maori dance and fun. We then followed.
The Tamaki Village Experience
Once through the gates of the fortified village, you follow a lantern-lit path to the Tamaki village. Here, it’s time to participate in a round-robin of five hands-on activities about Maori culture including
- Maori poi dance
- Maori Haka warrior dance
- Maori tribal tattoos
- Maori hand games
- Weaponry displays.
The warm fires in the village keep the chill away for visitors but dress warmly. (We felt for the Maori warriors and women who were half nude on this cold wintry night!)
The Wharenui Big House
When the call comes, it’s time to head to the Big House to watch traditional Maori dance and song.
The talents of the Tamaki performers are outstanding – their voices sublime, their dance moves heavenly, and their warrior chants loud and clear.
But it was the song of love across oceans that made me shiver!
More Photos of Tamaki Maori Village Activities
More Photos of the Maori Cultural Show
Photos of the Maori Hangi Dinner at Tamaki
Drinks are available for purchase at the bar separately.
Mitai Vs Tamaki
Tamaki Village experience begins and ends with that fun bus tour ride, and takes you through that cultural village.
Mitai Maori Village evening tour includes a guided tour of Rainbow Springs Nature Park where you can view Kiwi, New Zealand’s nocturnal native bird.
The cultural performances for tourists at both venues are equally as good, authentic, and of similar length. Most performers are enthusiastic, engaging, and entertaining. (We had only one bored guy at Tamaki who obviously did not want to be there.)
There’s little difference between the Maori hangi dinner on offer now that the Tamaki dinner includes Kai Moana (seafood). At Tamaki, it’s mussels and whitefish with a sauce.
The evening tours at Tamaki Maori Village and Mitai Maori Village are professional, reliable and consistent in delivering their Maori cultural experiences.
Prices at Mitai are a little cheaper than Tamaki, at $118 NZ per adult, $58.65 per child (10-15), $23.50 per child (5-9) and children under 5 free. A family pass for 2 adults and 2 children 10-15 years is $320.
Mitai then becomes the better option for families on a strict travel budget.
Kids will love both.
Toss a coin.
Te Puia Te Po Indigenous Evening Tour in Rotorua
Te Po, the evening dinner and show at Te Puia Geothermal Park, includes a Maori hangi dinner too. (Plus a free local drink made from kawakawa extract and manuka honey.)
The difference between Tamaki Maori Village and Te Po is that at Te Po, you enjoy a guided tour of Maori storytelling as you ride a motorised waka (people mover) through the Te Puia geothermal valley and see the famous Pohutu Geyser illuminated at night. A cultural performance of Maori song and dance follows.
Prices are comparable to Tamaki at $128 NZ per adult and $64 per child.
It’s another Maori cultural experience in Rotorua, but one we can’t vouch for as we haven’t tried it ourselves.
Whakarewarewa Maori Village
If you don’t have the time to do a night tour, or the kids are too young to be out late, visit Whakarewarewa, the Living Maori Village to see their Maori cultural performance at either 11.15am or 2pm.
The Inside Scoop- Tamaki Village Rotorua
Correct at time of publication. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of.
Address: New Zealand’s most awarded cultural tourism attraction office is located at 1220 Hinemaru Street, Rotorua, New Zealand. The actual Tamaki Village is located 20 minutes from town, on the Highlands Loop Road, Ngakuru, Rotorua.
Telephone:+64 (0)7 349 2999 for bookings and enquiries. Call toll free in New Zealand on 0508 826 254.
Website: Book here
- 3.5 hour Maori Cultural Experience starts at 6pm from the Tamaki Maori Village office headquarters on Hinemaru street, and returns you back around 9.30pm.
Tamaki Village Prices:
- Adults NZD $117.00
- Children (5-9 years) NZD $35.00
- Children (10-15 years) NZD $70.00
- Family Group (2 adults, up to 2 children) NZD $340.00
- Infants (4 years & under) FREE
- Includes traditional Maori dinner and dessert buffet feast, and free transport to and from your Rotorua accommodation
Tamaki Maori Village discount:
How to get there:
- By Bus: Departs from the Office in town on Hinemaru street. No self-drive option or parking available on site.
Rotorua Night Activities – Map of Tamaki Village
Toilets: Yes including baby change table
Disability access: Wheelchair and pram accessible, high chairs available
Closest ATM: Tamaki Maori Village accepts Credit card and EFTPOS
- Definitely wear a warm jacket and comfortable footwear
- Bring your camera
This Maori cultural experience last reviewed in October 2018.
Toadstool Rating- Tamaki Village Reviews
One of the best tourist attractions we enjoyed around the world.
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